Posted on July 26, 2020
AI Dungeon is an experimental text adventure game which is powered by artificial intelligence. When you dive into a game of AI Dungeon you never know what you’ll get, the fun part is just going along for the ride.
I think AI Dungeon is designed to work best in single player mode, but if you are paying the monthly subscription fee, you’ll get access to the multiplayer mode (plus access to the new “Dragon” update that is powered by GPT-3 technology). This multiplayer mode is very clunky out of the box, but I’ve found with a few tweaks, it can be a ton of fun.
The two big issues with multiplayer are:
- players often break the game by typing a script while some other player is also typing
- it is often unclear who the AI is speaking to (because it loves to use the 2nd person)
- the game frequently goes off the rails
Three! I meant to say there were three big issues.
The first issue can be can fixed by using a VOIP or group voice chat. I like to use Jit.si, since it’s free and has no time limitation. When all the players are logged on to Jitsi they can announce that they are about to type an action into the the game.
The rest of the issues can mostly be fixed by a “Game Master”. When I GM a game of AI Dungeon I try to let the computer do most of the work, but occasionally I’ll push the story along further if it feels like it stopped at a weird place (you can force the story to advance on it’s on by clicking your cursor in the text entry box and hitting the enter button without typing any additional text).
The GM can also help clarify who is speaking or who has an action happen to them when the computer is unclear. The game provides the main player with a “story” button as well as editing tools and the ability to re-roll a paragraph if it just doesn’t make any sense.
On the above image you can see the text input field and editing tools (most of which are only visible to the main player). If you click on the purple button you can switch between “Story”, “Player name”, and “Player name says”. My suggestion is for the GM to stay in Story mode and everyone else to stay in Player-Name mode. When users want to do something with their character, they can type their action and hit enter. If they want to say something, just type that thing in quotes. Group actions are best done in story mode.
For example, if a player wants to attack a goblin they should type “attack goblin” and hit enter. If the group wants to attack the goblin, the GM should type “the group attacks the goblin”. This will give better results. If the text then says an action that isn’t clear, the GM can clarify that text by hitting the edit button and altering the text. For example if the text says “The goblin attacks you.”, the GM might change that text to clearly state “The goblin attacks Ruby.”.
As the game unfolds, the GM can help clarify objectives and keep the group on track. The GM shouldn’t hesitate to be add scenarios or voice some of the characters that get added to the story, but the GM should make it clear when they are typing, so they don’t type over other players actions.
So if you are looking to run an AI Dungeon campaign, here are the steps you need to take in advance.
- Set up a time for the game
- Log in to AI Dungeon and start a new multiplayer game. You have to type in a name, whether or not you plan on playing a character. Once the campaign is ready, hit the settings menu and clicking “invite friends”.
- Create a jit.si link and send it to the group along with the AI Dungeon link (make sure it’s a unique link so other users don’t accidentally join you)
- Players will click the AI Dungeon link, type their names, then wait in the chat for the GM to give directions.
Below is a recent game we ran using these steps, it worked out great with a few exceptions:
- The AI used the second person quite often, which meant the GM had to specify which players were being referred to.
- The AI thought there were four players instead of three because the GM was also forced to log in as a character.
“Hello adventurers, please hold for your party to arrive.”
You are greeted by a humanoid creature that has large black eyes and three arms. He wears leather armor and is very muscular.
“Hello and welcome to The Adventurer’s Guild of Arrorn! Are you a member or a visitor?
Sarpedon admires the well-muscled humanoid and asks, “wow what do they feed you here? And how do we become members?”
“Hello sir, we are looking for a group to adventure with. Myself and the rest of the adventurers who are looking today are in the Craxil’s Mirth inn. Could you tell us how we can join their quest?” said the creature to Sarpedon.
Sarpedon says, “If you want to join our quest, first you must pass a test!”
“Wow, we’re looking for a group to join and you’re already trying to tell us how things are going to be? It doesn’t work that way, little one.”
“What do you mean? Are you not in charge here?” asks Sarpedon.
“I’m afraid not. If you want to join one of the many adventuring groups here in the guild, you need to speak with them directly. Come on, I’ll take you over.”
Nico Lightbringer follows the himbo.
“Yeah, sure thing buddy. So I heard that you guys have a whole magic university here. Is that true?”
The two walk over to the Craxil’s Mirth inn.
“No, we study it, but there is no actual university.” said the creature.
The whole group follows Nico.
“Wow, so this is the Craxil’s Mirth. I heard that it’s named after some old hero from the past.” said Sarpedon.
“You could say that, but his name just gets used to name this inn.” said the guide.
Nico leads you inside.
“Hey everyone, we have new people who are looking for groups to join.”
Ruby Rock Star starts talking with folks at the bar to find a group to join.
“So how do you folks do this? Do I just pick a group and that’s it?” asked Ruby.
The tavern is filled with many people wearing many different types of clothing. There are even some people in full plate armor drinking right next to some drunk wearing torn rags.
Sarpedon says “I want to join the drunk wearing torn rags! I got a feeling about this!”
Nico looks very confused.
“Why the hell would you want to join THAT group?” asks Nico.
Ruby walks up to the man in rags and kneels down to speak with him at his level.
Ruby Rock Star says “May we buy you a drink?”
“I’d rather have some ale.”
Ruby orders the man a drink and buys him another one, then the next one, and so on. Before you know it, the man is as drunk as can be.
Nico begins to get very annoyed.
Nico Lightbringer says “I don’t want to be the adult here but…”
“You’re not, you’re a jerk. Now let’s all get drunk!” yells Ruby.
Nico gives in.
Ruby continues to drink with the man while the rest of you talk to some of the other people there.
Sarpedon says “Yeah!”
You spend a few hours there drinking and generally having a good time. You wake up the next day with a massive headache.
“Ugh, why do I feel like this?” says Sarpedon.
“That’s because last night you drank more than twice your weight in alcohol!” says Nico.
“What are you, a cop?”
“Yeah, a Drunken Clues Detective.”
“Ugh, I hate you.”
Nico stands up and walks outside.
Sarpedon walks out behind you.
“Look, we need to get going soon or we won’t be able to complete our quest today.”
Ruby Rock Star says “All the drinking was all to find out more information about our quest. What have you all learned?”
“That’s a good point. What have you learned?” says Sarpedon.
“Um, I learned that it doesn’t matter what we do, we’ll still be attacked by bar patrons.”
Everyone goes quiet for a moment.
“Well that’s not very helpful.” says Sarpedon.
Nico Lightbringer says “I think the rag guy was the lost king.”
“Really? Why is that?” says Ruby.
“Because he was the only one who didn’t want to talk to us, and everyone knows that lost kings are usually bastards.”
Nico begins to laugh.
Ruby decides not to argue.
Ruby Rock Star says “Well shit, you’re right!”
“Alright, alright let’s get going,” says Sarpedon.
“Hold on, I gotta go to the bathroom.” says Ruby.
Ruby walks out of the room and goes to the bathroom. You hear a scream seconds later.
“What was that?” asks Nico.
Sarpedon runs to the bathroom to check on Ruby.
In the bathroom Sarpedon sees that Ruby is nowhere to be found. He runs outside and sees that she has been taken by a group of thugs armed with crossbows.
“We have your friend. If you ever want to see her again, come to the old mill by yourself.”
Ruby Rock Star says “Wait, no, I still need to pee!”
You hear a loud whistle and everyone but you stops to listen.
Sarpedon says “Nico, you should come with me as backup, but stay hidden, so the thugs don’t see you!”
Nico Lightbringer casts buffs on Sarpedon.
Nico gives you a thumbs up and hides behind the corner. Sarpedon begins walking towards the old mill as the thugs keep their line of sight on him the whole time. Sarpedon gets closer to them and closer. As soon as he’s in range, he takes out his dagger.
Sarpedon says “Hey thugs! Here I am, now where is Ruby?”
“Shut up! Who the hell are you?”
Sarpedon stabs a thug and as soon as he drops he feels a sharp pain in his back. He begins coughing blood and sees the faces of the thugs stare in shock. Sarpedon drops to his knees, he doesn’t have much time left…
Sarpedon says “Nico! Now!”
Nico jumps out and throws a throwing knife at a thug. He then runs over to Sarpedon and hands him his sword.
“Let’s do this.”
Sarpedon begin swinging his sword wildly at the thugs.
Nico Lightbringer casts major heal on Sarpedon.
The major heal scroll heals all his wounds. He’s fully healed!
Nico turns around and stabs the last thug. He falls to the ground dead.
“Thanks, that was a life saver.” Sarpendon says.
“No problem, now we need to go find Ruby.”
Sarpedon says “Let’s check in inside the mill. Careful, it might be a trap!”
Ruby Rock Star says “Help me, I’m blindfolded and I don’t know where I am!”
You both cautiously walk inside the mill. It looks like it has been abandoned for years, there’s cobwebs everywhere and you step over rat traps as you look around.
“Ruby!” you yell.
“Hello?” you hear a voice say.
“Ruby?” You walk inside the mill and look around. You see a group of thugs, blindfolded Ruby, and a massive orc.
“Ah, our orc friend has arrived!” the thug says.
“Let her go or I’ll kill you.” Sarpedon replies.
Ruby Rock Star says “Don’t kill me! I still need to pee!”
“Silence!” the orc yells.
Sarpedon says “Look, let’s be reasonable, we can tell you where the lost king is in exchange for Ruby!”
“Well now, that’s a pretty tempting offer. I’m sure my master would love to have the lost king as a captive. But how do we know you aren’t lying?”
You both stay silent…
Sarpedon looks at Nico, winks, and eyes the chain of an amulet hidden under his breastplate.
“Fine,” Sarpedon says, “We’ll show you.”
You slowly turn around, and start walking back to the Craxil’s room…
The orc grunts, and you both raise your hands up.
“Alright, drop ’em,” says the Orc as the adventurers drop their weapons.
Sarpedon keeps his hands where the orc can see them, and makes no sudden movements.
You drop your weapons, and turn around. You slowly start to raise your hands up… Then you grab the chain of the amulet and yank it as hard as you can!
A massive bolt of lightning hits the Orc in the chest, and it falls backwards.
Ruby Rock Star pees her pants a little.
Sarpedon runs over and grabs Ruby. The rest of the thugs seem to be coming to.
“Kill the snake!” you hear one of them yell.
“Ruby, we need to get out of here.”
“I’m blindfolded, I can’t see!”
Sarpedon removes the blindfold from Ruby’s face and gives her a dagger.
Nico and Ruby follow Sarpedon as he leads them to the exit. The thugs are still groggy, but a few of them manage to shoot bolts at you. You dodge out of the way, and keep moving towards the door.
The three run to the river to lose the thugs, crossing by hopping on the large slippery stones. The thugs cannot follow without turning into Oalkwardners themselves, so they remain behind.
You reach the other side of the river and climb out.
“We’re free!” Ruby says.
Ruby Rock Star says “Sarpedon, this feels just like Johannesburg! Do you remember?”
Sarpedon looks back at the way you came.
“I do. I remember a lot of things.”
You three sit on the bank of the river, resting.
“We should keep moving,” Sarpedon says.
Nico looks over the river.
Nico Lightbringer says “Who tipped off the thugs?”
“I don’t know. Maybe they just found the trail themselves.” says Sarpedon.
“But they couldn’t have! I was so careful!” says Nico.
“How would you know? You’ve never done this before.” says Sarpedon.
Nico takes a deep breath, trying to calm down.
Ruby Rock Star says “Remember, the lion is the most handsome when looking for food.”
You all begin to cross the river. The water is freezing cold, and you nearly lose your footing a few times. After several minutes you make it to the other side.
“Ah, that was refreshing!” Ruby says.
“We need to keep moving,” Sarpedon says.
Ruby Rock Star says “I peed in the river, and it washed my clothes. Killed two birds with one stone!”
Sarpedon says “I think that man in rags was a plant! He set us up! We need to get back to the inn!”
You keep moving, and after an hour you notice the trees becoming more scarce. The ground beneath you becomes more muddy, and you step carefully to avoid ruining your shoes. After a few more minutes, the trees disappear completely.
The three of you stand at the edge of a large forest. Sarpedon picks up the pace, and you follow.
You walk for several miles. The road is deserted, and there are no inns or taverns in sight. You begin to wonder if you’ve somehow gotten yourself lost.
“We should rest,” says Sarpedon.
Sarpedon takes out his bedroll and begins breaking camp. You and the others do likewise. You are just finishing up when a cloaked figure appears on the road behind you.
“What is this?” says Sarpedon, “Ruby, take the kid behind those rocks and hide.”
Ruby Rock Star says “Nico, come with me so we can hide.”
“I think it’s too late for that,” says the cloaked figure, “Hello Sarpedon, we meet at last.”
You see a bald man in a black cloak, holding a staff with a snake coiled atop it.
“Mendicks,” says Sarpedon, recognizing the figure.
Ruby hears Mendick’s name and snickers a little.
“You find this funny?” he says, “I’m here with several dozen mercenaries, and you think it’s funny?”
Mendicks waves his hand, and the sound of galloping horses is heard. Several dozen knights on horseback come into view, surrounding the three of you.
Sarpedon says “Easy now, Mendicks. This is between you and me. It’s been a long time since Johannesburg.”
Mendicks shakes his head.
“That’s Mr. Mendicks to you, blaggard.”
He turns to address all of you and says “This man is an escaped Convict. He killed three men in Johannesburg, and robbed a bank!”
Ruby Rock Star says “You have that wrong Mr. Mendicks! Those three men he ‘killed’ were me, Nico, and the kids! And the money from the bank went to the kid’s orphanage.”
Mr.Mendicks face twists into a grimace, then he laughs.
“A likely story, and one I’m afraid I don’t believe.”
Mendicks turns back to address you all.
“The three of you will be coming with me to stand trial in the town of Tulan.”
“Oh, we are now, are we?” says Ruby.
Mr. Mendicks’ knights surround the party. There is nowhere to escape.
Sarpedon says “So, Mendicks, you’re hiring thugs to kidnap people out of bathrooms now? How low you’ve fallen.”
“They’re not just any thugs,” says Mr. Mendicks, “They’re knights, highly trained and lethal.”
Sensing an opportunity, Sarpedon charges the knight nearest to him, putting all his weight into his shoulder and plowing into him. The knight falls off his horse.
Sarpedon says “Go for it Ruby!”
Ruby turns to run, but one of the knights knocks her down with the flat of his sword.
Nico steps forward, and the knight who knocked Ruby down turns to him with a sneer.
Nico Lightbringer prays to his goody two-shoes god for swift justice and relief.
Nico’s eyes roll into the back of his head and a white light appears above him.
“Beam of holy justice,” says the knight, “What an unexpected surprise.”
The beam of light hits the knight, burning a hole through his chest.
Ruby Rock Star throws out a series of ninja smoke grenades to mask the group’s escape.
As the smoke grenades fill the air, she charges forward. The knight in front of her reaches for his sword, but she tackles him before he can unsheathe it. She puts her elbow into his neck and knocks him unconscious.
There are 10 knights still surrounding Nico, Ruby, and Sarpedon. The knights all come in for an attack as Mr. Mendicks watches.
“Hey!” he cries, “You’re supposed to be taking them prisoner!”
The knights ignore him, continuing their attack.
Ruby Rock Star says “Mr. Mendicks, please save us from the knights!”
Mr. Mendicks takes a swig from his flask and ignores the pleas for help.
Nico Lightbringer, Sarpedon, and Ruby Rock Star are cut down by the knights’ swords.
The knights carry Nico’s friends away. Nico is left alone, blood dripping from his elbows, in the middle of the road.
Nico Lightbringer follows Ruby in secret disguise.
Nico follows the knights who took Ruby and her friend away, keeping a safe distance. He passes through the town of Arrorn and into the woods beyond it. The knights travel at a fast pace, and you find it difficult to keep up without being seen.
As Nico trails after the knights, he hears a voice from behind him. “You suck at hiding” the figure says before tossing off his dusty robes and revealing himself to be The Lost King. He is taller and older.
The king leaps onto the back of a horse, his muscles bulging as he does so.
“We have to follow the knights!” you say, “Ruby, Sarpedon, and your other are in trouble.”
“I’m not worried,” says the king. “They can take care of themselves.”
“I’m not talking about them,” you say, “I’m talking about the ancient magic that created you. If the Knights get their hands on it-“
“Let them have it,” says the king.
Nico Lightbringer says “Is that the truth behind the amulet I wear”
“The amulet is part of the ancient magic. I was originally supposed to wear it, but I refused. As you can see, my choice has worked out pretty well for me.”
You stare at The Lost King.
Nico Lightbringer says “What does the king want?”
“The king wants a partner, and someone to pass on all the cool things he knows when he dies. I’ve been training you for years, so that you can fulfill this role.”
You try to say something, but find yourself unable.
“Don’t thank me yet, it’s not like I’m doing this out of the goodness of my heart. You’ve cost me a lot of sleep, and you’re going to help me get it back.”
The Lost King leaps onto the back of his horse.
Nico Lightbringer says “I will fulfill your desires but we need to rescue my friends Ruby and Sarpedon “AI Dungeon
“Ruby and Sarpedon can take care of themselves. Now, I want you to-“
A sharp pain stabs through your stomach. You look down to see a knife sticking out of it.
“What the-” you say.
The Lost King pulls the knife out of your stomach, and sticks it into your heart.
Posted on July 19, 2020
Pixel Dailies is a twitter account with a big audience of artists and retro game fans. Each day they post a topic and encourage people to create pixel art versions of that theme. Recently they did “yo-yo” and the results are wonderful. Here are some of my favorites.Read More
Posted on July 12, 2020
I wanted to add some Black Lives Matter shirts to my wardrobe, but wanted to have them match my current style, so I commissioned some artists on Fiverr to create black metal inspired BLM logos. I thought they turned out nice and wanted to share them for anyone else to use as printed fliers, temporary tattoos, or anything else you think would look awesome.
I wont be selling these in any form, but I encourage you to use them however you like and help spread the word. I’ve been wearing these as temporary tattoos via Inkbox. If you are thinking about doing an Inkbox too, use this link for $10 off your first order.
Posted on July 3, 2020
In honor of Bandcamp Friday, I’ve just uploaded a brand new song called “Printer Not Printing“. This is an instrumental track built with the sounds of a broken printer. All the wubs, dubs, and airhorns are coming from within the plastic shell of an old Epson printer.
The accompanying music video features some wild lofi puppetry.
Bandcamp is waiving its revenue share today, July 3, so be sure to support your favorite artists. You can discover new artists by using the #bandcampfriday tag on Twitter.